28 November 2007

It's getting more and more overwhelming

Perhaps this is just part of life, but the more I delve into the novel work, the more complicated things get, with so many possibilities for telling Sarah's story.

Sarah started with a very simple idea: I needed a transgender character, who had been laid off from a corporate job. Given the bleak job market situation for transgenders, I had no trouble picking Sarah's job - a flight attendant at a fairly LGBT-friendly airline. But now that Sarah is the protagonist, and she has been begging me for years to tell her entire life story, things are getting really complicated.

I think I got most of the teenage years part down - down to the high school, the bashing incidents, and the fellow classmates. But getting to that point from childhood will be a lot of blanks to fill, even after writing two childhood scenes for my last writing class.

I also have an okay idea of what Sarah's early years of adulthood (and womanhood) should be like, but some details need to be filled in. And as she starts working as a flight attendant, I need to pick which incidents on the job will need to make it into the story. Any flight attendant can tell stories about burning her hands in the galley of a 727, but not many can tell about worrying about facial hair growing back, on the job, during a lengthy delay. And there is also the issue of Sarah's first love Martha, and the difficulties in killing her off through a hate crime in NYC.

And as much as I love my alter ego Kirsten, and as much as I want her to be Sarah's life companion, I have yet to find the spark that sets off their love at first. The two are quite different - Sarah is a Christian while Kirsten is a Goddess Woman, and Sarah is into women's rock while Kirsten is into pop and Top 40. Perhaps more freewriting will reveal something. I also need to set the pace for their relationship going from friendship to love - not too fast, but not too slow either.

Hoping for some new inspirations soon. And when I have enough material on hand, I'll start bugging my mentors. Masha Hamilton wants me to take her advanced Level II class when I have 150 pages ready.

(And speaking of inspirations, I did book my next Bay Area trip, for Christmas weekend. Hope it'll help.)


gayle said...

Novel writing can be overwhelming indeed--I'm sure Sarah will guide you through it. I do hope the trip will help.

I look forward to being bugged! :)


Rachel said...


Thanks for all your help as always.